About the Archives

The NWT Archives’ mission is to identify, acquire, make accessible, and preserve unpublished records that document the history of the Northwest Territories.

The NWT Archives collects documents in many forms, including: diaries, correspondence, maps, charts, architectural plans, photographs, oral histories, audio tapes, films and videos, and newspapers. The NWT Archives also houses an extensive non-lending library of publications related to the history of the Northwest Territories.

Our collection contains records from the Government of the Northwest Territories as well as records of historical significance donated by private individuals and organizations. Established under the direction of the Archives Act, the NWT Archives makes accessible those records required for the long-term accountability of government and for historical purposes. As an institution dedicated to the preservation of Northwest Territories history, the NWT Archives also acquires and preserves records created by individuals and organizations that have significantly influenced the historical narrative and which contribute to providing a holistic account of NWT history in which all cultures are represented.

Our holdings document the history of the NWT, including the oral tradition and history of NWT Aboriginal peoples, constitutional development in the NWT leading up to the creation of Nunavut, the activities of the Government of the Northwest Territories since 1967, the fur trade, the aviation industry, and the development of the mining industry.

Over the past 40 years our holdings have grown immensely. What once consisted of a handful of boxes has expanded to include more than one kilometre of text, over 600,000 photographs, many thousands of hours of sound recordings and films, and more than 9,000 volumes in our library, including a world-class collection of rare books on the Arctic. We are proud to be able to make these records accessible to the public and to ensure that the information they contain will be preserved for future generations.

The NWT Archives is pleased to share its Vision Statement. The NWT Archives Operational Manual documents the rules, procedures and authorities that guide operations and the associated management of archival records holdings.